People often ask, “Why does life suck?” For those who find the language offensive, please forgive me, but it wouldn’t be a quote if I tried to soften it. Pastors may use more carefully chosen words, replacing the offensive ones and reworking the question this way: “Why is everything a struggle at my church?” I would never go as far as to say the solution to life sucking or a struggling church is Proverbs 3:5-6, but I can say the solution to navigating through these times is not in your hands, your strength, or how you understand things. The solution lies in letting God take over, and He will plot the course. He will carry the weight. “He will make your paths straight.”
Too many lives and too many churches…
…are built on footings that were never made to support the load. You were not created to rely on yourself. The church was not established to rely on the collective that attends. If we base our Christ-following endeavors on what we know or at least think we know about God, we are doomed to go nowhere. You may think you understand God and what He wants, but God is much more complex than a set of rules, a list of dos and don’ts.
Even though sin has entered the world…
…we have within us a moral compass because we are made in the image of the One who created us. This God-created instinct, along with the Bible, gives us a little knowledge about God, or at least as much as we can handle. The problem is, we compile our own understanding of God from what little we know. It is so easy to start a checklist for what we want to do without ticking the most important box.
- I have an idea
- It’s not sinful
- It could influence a lot of people
- Other Christians/churches have done it
- I can get enough help
- I can get enough funds
- Let’s get started
I see nothing wrong with these categories…
…with getting your ducks in a row. The problem I see is one that King David faced in 2 Samuel 7. King David had an idea, a pretty good one, I think. It was based on his conviction that God was – well – God. David saw his own position as king of the land and the perks that came along with it. He realized that he lived in a “…house of cedar while the ark of God remains in a tent” (2 Samuel 7:2) David’s way to address this issue was in no way a sinful idea; I would even suggest it was a Godly idea. A temple to the one true God would have great meaning to His chosen people. A permanent place of worship was just a better version of the portable tent model from before. Getting help and funds wasn’t a problem for the king, so why not get started!
“Lean not on your own understanding” comes to mind. King David, a man after God’s own heart, created a way to show his love for God, but God said that is not my plan. The idea was a good and Godly one. It wasn’t wrong, or God would not have asked David’s son, King Solomon, to build the temple. David’s own understanding of what God should have for His dwelling place on earth was in line with God’s plan, but his desire to take on the project during his reign was not. Right idea, wrong person, wrong timing, flawed human understanding.
If God is not the footings…
…on which everything in our lives and in our church stands, then what is being built will fall. Often, we are left asking God to help us with something that He never asked us to do. Our knowledge of God makes us think what we are doing is His will, so we do it, and then we ask Him to bless it. Psalm 127:1 says, “Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain.” God doesn’t want you to come up with your own plan and your own support system. He has the plan; He is the footings that support the building. His designs do not need you or your input, but they do allow you to participate.
Over the next few months I will be preaching a sermon series using my book Blueprint as a jumping off point. My posts will contain small sections from my book and a link to my sermon.
I so agree. When our efforts fail, we must not forget that our suffering is, also, useful. “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (2 Cor. 4: 10). God may have a larger plan than we can imagine.
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